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Worldwide Tribute to Michael Jackson Being Planned
By Sentinel News Service
Published July 2, 2009

Worldwide Tribute to Michael Jackson Being Planned

 The Rev. Al Sharpton was at the Encino home of Michael Jackson’s family Monday to discuss a worldwide tribute and how to preserve the legacy of the King of Pop.

Jackson, who was 50, went into full cardiac arrest Thursday at his rented Holmby Hills estate, days away from the start of a sold-out series of 50 concerts in London. Paramedics were unable to revive him, and he was pronounced dead two hours later at UCLA Medical Center.

Sharpton, who flew in from Atlanta Sunday, met with family members to plan a possible worldwide celebration of Jackson’s life.

“I’m here to make sure Michael gets in death what he never got in life – – he never got credit,” Sharpton said upon his arrival in Los Angeles.

“He was not a freak, he’s a genius,” he said. “He was not somebody who was eccentric, he was innovative and that innovation smashed barriers and he should be given a lot more credit than he’s been given.”

Of Jackson’s family, Sharpton said they were “obviously shaken, but they seemed very determined to at all costs to preserve Michael’s legacy.” Jackson admitted to being addicted to prescription painkillers in the 1990s, and rumors have been swirling that he was given a shot of the powerful painkiller Demerol shortly before he died.

His in-house doctor, Conrad Murray, was interviewed by Los Angeles police detectives for three hours Saturday, and his lawyer, Edward Chernoff, told the Los Angeles Times that Murray denied giving Jackson any painkillers.

The newspaper also quoted a source close to the investigation who said the LAPD interview of Dr. Murray failed to turn up evidence linking him to Jackson’s death.

Separately, LAPD Lt. Gregg Strenk told The Times that investigators have no information that shows Jackson had been injected with Demerol or other painkillers. Such reports, The Times was told by the LAPD, “are coming from outside the investigation.”

Meantime, Sunday night’s BET Awards show at the Shrine Auditorium was a celebration of Jackson’s life, and at least two of his family members attended the show.

His father, Joe Jackson, walked the red carpet and spoke about his son’s death.

“I wish he could have been here to enjoy all of this,” he told Access Hollywood.

Asked if it was a hard decision to come to the awards show, he said he was “a tough guy.”

“The family is fine,” he added.

Various performers did tributes to Jackson, and thanked him for his influence.

While accepting the award for Best Female R&B Artist, Beyonce Knowles said, “This is for you, Michael Jackson. I have to thank Michael Jackson for being my teacher, my hero.”

Sister Janet Jackson made a surprise appearance at the end of the show and thanked the audience for their support.

“My entire family wanted to be here tonight, but it was just too painful,” she said.

“So they elected me to speak with all of you and I’m going to keep it very short but I’d just like to say that to you, Michael is an icon.

To us, Michael is family.”

Categories: Local

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